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Such is the fame and popularity of the Impressionists it is hard to imagine the art movement being dismissed and overlooked today, but when they started out their paintings — that are now some of the most recognisable in the world — were derided by the French art establishment. And the movement might never have gained that worldwide adoration and critical support had it not been for one Parisian art dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel.
The British Museum’s big summer blockbuster exhibition is on the history of Indigenous Australia, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. It is an extraordinary story that goes back 60,000 years, the oldest in human history.
The exhibition brings together artefacts from the National Museum of Australia as well as from the British Museum’s own collection. It includes objects that came from Captain Cook’s journey to Australia in 1770 — a shield picked up by one of Cook’s crew for instance — a 19th century turtle shell mask from the Torres Strait Islands, and art by leading modern day indigenous artists, including Yumari (1981) by Uta Uta Tjangala.
Hollywood actor Bradley Cooper stars in the stage play of The Elephant Man over the summer, transferring from its Broadway run.
Cooper, making his West End debut, stars alongside Patricia Clarkson as Mrs Kendal and Alessandro Nivolo as Dr Treves in Bernard Pomerance’s 1977 play about the real life of severely disfigured John Merrick.
Rory Kinnear is starring in a new version of Franz Kafka’s The Trial over the summer. The play — a new adaptation by Nick Gill — is on at the Young Vic, a great little theatre putting on interesting productions (such as its recent sell-out A Streetcar Called Desire starring Gillian Anderson).
The play is a nightmare scenario with Kinnear’s character Josef K being arrested for unstated crimes by agents from an unspecified agency on his 30th birthday. It is directed by Richard Jones.
The Old Vic Theatre’s new season starting this autumn is the first for new artistic director Matthew Warchus. Taking over from Kevin Spacey to run one of London’s most historic theatres, Warchus’s first season is a mix of new and old plays, from Pinter to Dr Seuss’s The Lorax, and includes a musical and a Eugene O’Neill production.
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